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Dec. 9, 2011

PITTSBURGH – The tough schedule may have caught up to the Pitt wrestling team as the No. 9 Panthers suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of No. 6 Ohio State.

The Buckeyes won seven of the 10 matches to notch a 22-9 victory over the Panthers on Friday at the Fitzgerald Field House. It was the first battle of top-10 wrestling teams at the venue in nearly 50 years.

Anthony Zanetta (125), Matt Wilps (197) and Zac Thomusseit (HWT) picked up wins for the Panthers, who dropped to 3-1 overall this season. The Buckeyes remained unbeaten with their fifth straight win.

The loss snaps an eight-match winning streak dating back to last season for the Panthers. Their last loss was also to a top-10 team as they fell to then-No. 2 Penn State on Jan.  21, 2011.

With Pitt trailing 10-0 after three losses to open the contest, Matt Wilps put the Panthers on the board with a 4-2 decision at 197, improving to 13-2 on the season.

WIlps, ranked fifth in the nation, faced an almost identical situation to the one he was in during a win over Max Huntley in the Michigan dual. With the score tied 2-2, Wilps started the third period on top, needing to ride out most of the period to get a riding time point and, hopefully, not allow Ohio State’s Andrew Campolattano to escape with minimal time to retaliate. Once again, he came through, forcing a stalling call to take a 3-2 lead and tacking on the riding time point at the end.

Zac Thomusseit and Zanetta made it three matches in a row for Pitt, giving their team a chance down the stretch. Thomusseit’s decision cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 10-6, and Zanetta’s decision, coupled with a penalty point on the Ohio State coach during the match, tied the match at 9-9.

Ohio State went on to clinch the match with wins in the final four bouts.

Thomusseit turned in one of his most impressive matches of the season, controlling the bout from start to finish in a 12-6 victory over No. 11 Peter Capone. The Pitt senior, ranked 17th in the nation, found himself against an undersized heavyweight similar in weight to him for one of the first times this season and took advantage with an aggressive performance.

Thomusseit used two takedowns, including a double leg where he lifted Capone completely off the mat, to take a 4-2 lead after one period. A reversal in the second period put him up 6-2, before he added six more points in the final period to come up just short of the major decision.

Both Thomusseit and Zanetta beat wrestlers that were fresh off solid performances at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas last weekend. Capone finished runner-up in the 34-team event, while Zanetta’s opponent, No. 15 Johnni Dijulius, took fourth.

Zanetta had one of the more quirky wins possible in college wrestling. He used two stalling points, two escapes and a penalty point in sudden victory for a 5-4 win.

After a scoreless first period, Dijulius struck first with an escape and takedown early in the second period for a 3-0 lead. Repeated standup attempts where Dijulius kept dropping to Zanetta’s legs forced three stalling calls and two points awarded to Zanetta during the period. The Panther junior tied the match with an escape with seconds to go before the final period.

Zanetta took a 4-3 lead with an escape in the third period, but while Dijulius was giving up stalling points, he was also racking up riding time, which led to a point and a 4-4 tie after regulation. In an anticlimactic ending, Dijulius was whistled for an illegal hold early in sudden victory, giving Zanetta his fourth dual meet win of the season.

Freshman Travis Shaffer showed signs of what he is capable of in a losing effort. Squaring off with No. 6 Hunter Stieber, who defeated Michigan’s two-time national champion Kellen Russell last weekend, Shaffer was right in the match before giving up a late takedown in a 7-5 loss.

It wasn’t the first time Shaffer and Stieber had competed against one another. Shaffer upset Stieber, a four-time Ohio state champion, at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic last year in high school.

Pitt has wrestled top-10 teams in three of its last four matches, posting wins over then-No. 6 Lehigh and then-No. 6 Michigan before Friday’s loss to No. 6 Ohio State.

The Panthers will return to action with their first Eastern Wrestling League match of the season when they travel to Cleveland State on Sunday. That match is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.


Ohio State 22, Pitt 9

165 – Derek Garcia (Ohio State) dec. No. 33 Tyler Wilps (Pitt), 7-5

174 – No. 5 Nick Heflin (Ohio State) dec. No. 18 Ethan Headlee (Pitt), 7-2

184 – No. 13 C.J. Magrum (Ohio State) maj. dec. No. 28 Max Thomusseit (Pitt), 13-5

197 – No. 5 Matt Wilps (Pitt) dec. No. 23 Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State), 4-2

HWT – No. 17 Zac Thomusseit (Pitt) dec. No. 11 Peter Capone (Ohio State), 12-6

*125 – No. 17 Anthony Zanetta (Pitt) dec. No. 15 Johnni Dijulius (Ohio State), 4-3 SV

133 – No. 3 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) maj. dec. No. 18 Shelton Mack (Pitt), 9-1

141 – No. 6 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) dec. Travis Shaffer (Pitt), 7-5

149 – No. 15 Cam Tessari (Ohio State) dec. No. 12 Tyler Nauman (Pitt), 6-3

157 – No. 22 Josh Demas (Ohio State) dec. No. 32 Donnie Tasser (Pitt), 8-6

No. 9 Pitt Wrestling Suffers First Loss of Season to No. 6 Ohio State

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